July 26, 2017

Iranian dissidents and a U.S. dilemma

REUTERS NEWS AGENCY WASHINGTON — Call it the coalition of the baffled — a diverse group of prominent public figures who challenge the U.S. government’s logic of keeping on its terrorist blacklist an Iranian exile organization that publicly renounced violence a decade ago and has fed details on Iran’s nuclear programme to American intelligence. On the U.S. Department of State’s list of 47 foreign terrorist organizations, the Mujahedin-e-Khalq is the only group that has been taken off similar lists by the European Union and Britain, after court decisions that found no evidence of terrorist activity in recent years. In the U.S., a court last July ordered the State Department to review the … [Read more...]

No Good Options for Iranian Dissidents in Iraq

PolicyWatch #1797 By Patrick Clawson April 19, 2011  In an April 8 confrontation at Camp Ashraf, Iraq -- home to some 3,400 members of the Iranian dissident organization Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK) -- Iraqi army forces killed at least thirty-four people, according to UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay. The clash highlighted an ongoing problem: what to do about the presence of several thousand people the Iraqi government badly wants to be rid of, when no other country to which they are willing to go will accept them. Distasteful as the current situation is, the status quo may be best. The Confrontation When Iraqi forces entered Camp Ashraf on April 8, Baghdad … [Read more...]

Obama, Iran and a push for policy change

REUTERS NEWS AGENCY Could the administration of President Barack Obama hasten the downfall of Iran’s government by taking an opposition group off the U.S. list of terrorist organizations? To hear a growing roster of influential former government officials tell it, the answer is yes. The opposition group in question is the Mujadeen-e-Khalq (MEK) and the growing list of Washington insiders coming out in its support include two former Central Intelligence Agency chiefs (James Woolsey and Michael Hayden), two chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (Peter Pace and Hugh Shelton), former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, former Homeland Security chief Tom Ridge and former FBI head Louis … [Read more...]

MEK Is Not a Terrorist Group

The National Review Online The material-support statute is fine; the designation is the problem. The moral of this story may be that sometimes it’s better not to have friends, especially the sort with easy access to the op-ed page of the New York Times, or “The Newspaper of Record,” as it sometimes bills itself. About a week ago, in the guise of defending us against an imagined prosecution for materially assisting a foreign terrorist organization based on our comments at a conference where we urged that Mujahadin e Khalq (“MEK”) be removed from the State Department’s list of such organizations, Prof. David Cole of Georgetown Law School took to the op-ed page of the Times with a bit … [Read more...]

America, Iran and a terrorist label

 REUTERS NEWS AGENCY Who says that the United States and Iran can't agree on anything? The Great Satan, as Iran's theocratic rulers call the United States, and the Islamic Republic see eye-to-eye on at least one thing, that the Iranian opposition group Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MEK) are terrorists. America and Iran arrived at the terrorist designation for the MEK at different times and from different angles but the convergence is bizarre, even by the complicated standards of Middle Eastern politics. The United States designated the MEK a Foreign Terrorist Organization in 1997, when the Clinton administration hoped the move would help open a dialogue with Iran. Thirteen years later, there is … [Read more...]

Reality Check: Understanding the Mujahedin-e Khalq

The Huffington Post April 22, 2010 By Ali Safavi, Member of Iran’s Parliament in Exile; President of Near East Policy Research Aside from the clearly false allegations against the MEK, which have been addressed in previous posts, some of the MEK's activities inside Iran prior to 2001 have been cited by the US Department of State and others as providing ostensible justification for the terrorist label against the organization. The MEK's activities have been painted with an unjustified brush of terrorism, thereby conflating instances of otherwise legitimate resistance against a tyrannical system with horrid acts of blind terrorism. Readers are welcomed to comment or ask questions if they … [Read more...]

Reality Check: Mujahedin-e Khalq, Kurds and Shiites in Iraq

The Huffington Post April 6, 2010 By Ali Safavi, Member of Iran’s Parliament in Exile; President of Near East Policy Research One of the unsubstantiated allegations against the Mujahedin-e Khalq (PMOI/MEK) is that it was involved in the suppression of Iraqi Kurds and Shiites in the aftermath of Operation Desert Storm in 1991. The source of this allegation, which later found its way into a 1994 Department of State report on the MEK,[1] and subsequently in the Department's Country Reports on Terrorism, is none other than the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS). The fact is that in the aftermath of the 1991 Persian Gulf War, the Iranian regime launched an extensive … [Read more...]

Reality Check: Understanding the Politics Behind the MEK’s Terrorist Designation

The Huffington Post March 31, 2010 By Ali Safavi, Member of Iran’s Parliament in Exile; President of Near East Policy Research The Mujahedin-e Khalq (PMOI/MEK) has figured prominently in policy equations between Tehran and Washington since at least 1985. As recently as June 2007, in talks with the United States over Iraq's security, the Iranian regime's ambassador to Baghdad pressed the issue of the MEK and the presence of some 3,400 of its members in Camp Ashraf, Iraq, as one of the most sensitive items on the meeting's agenda.[1] Aside from the unsubstantiated and bogus allegations against the MEK -- essentially fabricated by Iran's notorious Ministry of Intelligence and Security … [Read more...]

What is the Purpose of the U.S. Foreign Terrorist Organizations List?

PolicyWatch #1643 By Patrick Clawson March 18, 2010 The United States maintains a range of "terrorist lists," of which the Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTO) list is one of the better known. But in two recent court cases, the U.S. government has offered arguments that raise questions about the purpose of the list. FTO List vs. State Sponsors List Another list is that of state sponsors of terrorism. The act of naming a foreign government as a terrorism sponsor is one instrument among many to affect the general foreign policy stance of the country concerned. Yet in practice, the state sponsors category has become a list of governments Washington simply does not like, often with … [Read more...]

Reality Check: Understanding the Mujahedin-e Khalq (PMOI/MEK)

The Huffington Post March 2, 2010 By Ali Safavi, Member of Iran's Parliament in Exile; President of Near East Policy Research The Mujahedin-e Khalq (PMOI/MEK) was founded in 1965 by three Muslim university graduates and sought to replace the Shah's dictatorship with a representative government that respects human rights. But after the 1979 revolution, it fell victim to the new dictatorship's onslaught. So far, it has lost tens of thousands of its members and supporters to the ruling regime, most famously during a massacre in 1988, which Amnesty International has dubbed "a crime against humanity."[1] Though a Muslim organization, the MEK seeks a secular republic in Iran based on … [Read more...]